Structural changes and potential vertebrate responses following simulated partial harvesting of boreal mixedwood stands

Vanderwel, Mark C.; Caspersen, John P.; Malcolm, Jay R.; Papaik, Michael J. et Messier, Christian (2011). « Structural changes and potential vertebrate responses following simulated partial harvesting of boreal mixedwood stands ». Forest Ecology and Management, 261, pp. 1362-1371.

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Partial harvesting, where different numbers and arrangements of live trees are retained in forest stands, has been proposed for maintaining late-successional structure and associated vertebrate species within managed boreal forests. Using the stand dynamics model SORTIE-ND, we examined 80-year patterns of structural change in response to different intensities (30–70% basal area removal) and spatial patterns (22–273m2 mean patch size) of harvesting. We also applied habitat models for seven late-successional vertebrates to the structural conditions present after harvesting to assess potential species responses. Partial harvesting increased understory and downed woody debris (DWD) cover and decreased overstory structure for the first 25 years after harvest, in comparison to unharvested stands, with this effect subsequently reversing as harvest-induced regeneration reached the canopy. Although harvesting enhanced long-term structural development in this regard, large trees, large snags, and largeDWDall remained below unharvested levels throughout the simulation period. Harvesting also produced transient increases in early-decayDWDand ground exposure. Most changes in structural attributes increased in proportion to harvest intensity, but structural differencesamongharvest patterns were generally small. Dispersed harvesting induced somewhat less pronounced decreases in vertical structure, and produced more post-harvest slash, than aggregated harvesting. All seven vertebrate species decreased in abundance as harvest intensity increased from 30 to 70%. In comparison to their pre-harvest abundances in old stands, vertebrates associated with DWD (redback salamander, marten, red-backed vole) showed neutral or positive responses at one or more harvest intensities, whereas those associated with large trees and snags (brown creeper, flying squirrel) consistently exhibited substantial adverse impacts.

Type: Article de revue scientifique
Mots-clés ou Sujets: Boreal forest, Ecosystem management, SORTIE-ND, Stand dynamics, Structural retention, Wildlife habitat
Unité d'appartenance: Centres institutionnels > Centre d'étude de la forêt (CEF)
Faculté des sciences > Département des sciences biologiques
Déposé par: Christian Messier
Date de dépôt: 29 nov. 2011 14:17
Dernière modification: 01 nov. 2014 02:20
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